There have been questions asking why San Francisco 49ers cornerback Jason Verrett wasn’t named the starter during training camp if he’s playing this well. While it may seem fair and logical, Emmanuel Moseley outplayed Verrett during training camp and earned his starting position. Moseley played as well as you could ask during August and rarely was beaten in coverage. Plus, Verrett had a hamstring injury during the final week of training camp, which all but locked up Moseley’s starting role.
Fast forward a few weeks where Verrett was healthy and was inserted into the starting lineup as Richard Sherman went on the injured reserve with a calf strain. Verrett was fine during his first start against the Giants but had a couple of plays where he chased receivers out of his zone. Daniel Jones didn’t take advantage. In that same game, Verrett still seemed a bit gun shy as a tackler. After all of the injuries he’s been through, who could blame him.
During the Eagles game, Verrett showed more aggression as a tackler and even missed one. He did have a blown coverage on a similar passing concept that plagued him during the Giants. The only difference was Philadelphia threw the pas. Against The Rams, Verrett’s issues became obsolete. Week 6 was easily his best game as a 49er. Verrett seemed like he was challenged by the coaching staff during the week to make plays as he went out of his way to beat blockers and try to make tackles. You could see him during passing plays pre-snap signaling to the other members of the secondary. That communication paid off as Verrett did a phenomenal job of taking routes away in zone coverage. By now, you’ve seen Verrett’s interception and pass breakups, but he made far more than just three plays against the Rams:
22, man. in his first two starts, he was chasing WRs out of his zone. Not anymore. you can tell he's confident with how active he is in the run game too. watch him sit on routes and takes away throws. his understanding of leverage/his divider rules are pic.twitter.com/gVAnqbYOyK— KP (@KP_Show) October 20, 2020
Verrett was PFF’s top-graded defender during Week 6, where he tied with Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick with a 94.0 grade. On the season, PFF has Verrett as the third-highest cornerback through six games, though he’s only started in four of them.
On the season, Verrett has allowed four receptions on 14 targets for 24 yards. He has three pass breakups and an interception. He’s allowed as many receptions as he’s made plays on the ball this season. I’d say the 49ers were wise to bring Verrett back on a one-year deal, and it appears they’ve found a diamond in the rough. Let’s hope he keeps his stellar play up and stays healthy. Verrett’s been a great story through four games, but, with injuries, the Niners are going to need him to play for the remainder of the season.